Sometimes art makes you cry, sometimes it fills you with joy. On an even rarer occasion it might make you scream…
That’s unless you’re screaming for an instant wheel up after locking into the production credentials of Screamarts, the Austrian drum and bass talent who has spent the past year clocking up releases on a plethora of highly distinguished labels.
In 2021 alone, his razor-sharp beats have found a home on the likes of Eatbrain, Dispatch, Flexout and Delta9, showcasing a penchant for clean drum work and distorted basslines.
More recently, the Vienna-based artist has added another string to his bow with the experimental Is This Even Real? EP out on Rebel Music. Taking influences from house music’s relationship with drum and bass in the nineties and the sounds of artists like LTJ Bukem, as well as his love for KOAN Sound and Bonobo, Screamarts has created his own interpretations of the genre with a style he refers to as future liquid.
If that wasn’t enough, he is also set to launch a new alias imminently. Mylo Fane will allow Screamarts some freedom away from the drum and bass tempo, giving him the opportunity to release some of the material currently stored away on his hard drive.
Highly in-demand, with a strongarm work-rate to match, we were very eager to hear more about what goes on in his world. Lock in for a chat that touches base on everything from the emotions of his event back to why Austria has had one of the hottest scenes for quite some time!
Let’s start with your recent EP on Rebel Music that came out a couple of weeks ago. What’s the reaction been like about the release?
I think it’s been pretty great actually. The coolest thing is I’ve been hearing from artists in the liquid scene like Random Movement who have been reacting really positively to the EP. It was a cool surprise because even though I’ve done a bit of liquid production on the side before, I haven’t actually released a full liquid project. It’s definitely a different sound to a lot of other liquid stuff because it connects the dots to Mylo Fane, an alias that I’m going to start releasing as very soon. It uses downtempo and house music influences but brought into a drum and bass context. It ended up coming together really quickly as I loved working on it so much.
Anyone who’s a fan of your work or has seen the list of labels you’ve notched up releases on will know about your eclectic style, but I’m sure many were surprised by the sounds on the EP. You’ve been calling the style future liquid, right?
Yes, that’s right. I don’t think it fits into what most liquid sounds are like, so it’s kind of its own thing. I really enjoyed making it though because it allowed me to find new techniques in serum. I think you can hear it in the synth, particularly the way it changes in the oscillator in a peculiar way. That creates this kind of weird sound that has its own feel. As I said, I took a lot of influence from the way house music intersected with jungle in the nineties, artists like LTJ Bukem for example. It was actually Ben from Rebel Music [label founder OB1] who gave it the future liquid name though.
So was the EP made with Rebel Music in mind, or was it through conversations with Ben that it started to take shape?
I was already talking to Ben. We have a really good connection even though I haven’t met him in real life. I just casually sent him the tunes and he was really excited about them. From then, I didn’t actually look for any other label because he was so enthusiastic about the tunes which you sometimes don’t get. He had the same amount of passion as me for the project, so I knew we were on the same page about the music.
The release is the latest in what’s been an incredibly busy year for you- Eatbrain, Dispatch, Flexout, Overview, Delta9, that’s a seriously strong list! You’ve had a very productive pandemic!
Yeah, it’s been quite productive, but it has been quite hard for me as well. I’ve struggled a little bit as DJing helps me a lot when it comes to my production. I can go home the next day after a show and have a lot of motivation to get back in the studio to finish bits I played in my set. The past 16 months have given me a lot of time to make music though.
Do you think that’s changed the way you produce in the studio then? You don’t have the dancefloor in mind as much, instead, you’re more focused on the listening experience?
Yeah, I think that’s actually pretty accurate. I think I have been making more music with the listening experience in mind. I think that’s also why I have been working on more liquid-sounding stuff and also on my alias a bit more as well.
I suppose being able to make music regularly has kept you sane over the past 16 months as well…
Absolutely. I always find that making music really helps with my psychological well-being. Being able to disappear in the studio behind the screen, making some music, but also some more musical music that speaks to your soul away from the dance floor energy has really helped me cope with everything. More recently, being able to get in the studio with other people has been really fun as well. I was in the studio with Akov and since then we’ve become really good friends.
You’ve been active on your Patreon as well over the past few months. Has that allowed you to stay connected to the scene throughout the pandemic?
It actually did. It was really helpful for the financial side of things as well. I hope that the Patreon also helped people who were struggling as well, as they could reach out and have some fun conversations while also hearing my new music and watching tutorials on how to improve their production. I’m always happy to answer questions and give feedback to anything through my Patreon.
What’s the Covid situation been like in Austria? Have the restrictions been tight throughout the pandemic?
They’ve actually been strict. There were no clubs whatsoever until a few weeks ago, so apart from a few live streams I haven’t been able to play any music. Even for those I had to wear a mask and get tested before going. A few months ago, restrictions were lifted slightly so I got to do a little show, but then we went straight back into lockdown again. You couldn’t even eat food in the restaurants. It was really strict, but just like everywhere in Europe, I think. Now it’s slowly beginning to open up again.
You’re speaking to me on the way to a show. Have you played any before or is this your first one back?
I’ve played a couple already. I’ve had to wait a long time though. We didn’t even have any sit-down events like there have been in the UK. Tonight, I’m on my way to just a little free entry event, but it was actually where it all started for me, so I’m looking forward to being back there.
What were your emotions like when you were back playing for the first time?
It was really amazing! At the beginning, I was actually really scared because I haven’t been playing for so long, so I was really worried I was going to fuck it up! In the end, it went really well. It was such an amazing feeling to play all the music I’ve been working on over the lockdowns and being able to see people dancing and enjoying themselves to this kind of music again.
Let’s take it back to your beginnings. What’s your background in music?
I come from a very musical family. My father is a music producer and records bands. I was always drawn to music because it was always playing when we were at home. One of my favourites when I was younger was Gorillaz. When it came to electronic music, I was first drawn to dubstep as it was the phase right then in 2012. I started producing because I heard Nero’s Act Like You Know. It was actually on UKF. I was listening and didn’t know how to make that kind of bass sound; it was so alien. That gave me the spark to start wanting to produce and quickly after, I got into drum and bass. I’m sure I’m the same as a lot of people, but Netsky and Pendulum were very inspiring for me.
Growing up in a very musical household, do you think that inspired the creativity that we hear in your productions, particularly on Is This Even real?
I can’t actually tell. I think the sound on the EP comes from experimenting with music outside of drum and bass and being inspired by artists like KOAN Sound and Bonobo. They really mix that down tempo sound really well with the heavier drums.
Growing up in Austria and knowing how strong the scene is must have been really inspiring for you as well. Around 2012 when you were beginning to produce, you had artists like Mefjus and Camo and Krooked at the top of their game. Now ten years later, you’re part of the same community as them…
It’s a bit daunting as well. They’re such big names but they’re also really cool people whenever I’ve had the chance to talk with them at shows. I look up to them, but the whole scene in Austria right now is really healthy. We even have artists like Akov moving here because he knows how strong the scene is. We have lots of really cool artists coming through who are easy to connect with, but that is just a representation of the whole scene in general. The scene is encouraging creativity and new styles and isn’t afraid to move in new directions. That’s what I like to do really, take the vibes from the nineties but try and move it forward.
I think that’s really clear in your sound. It’s clear you’re comfortable pushing different styles.
That’s really important for me, but I think it comes kind of naturally with my production due to my obsession with sound design and always trying to make new sounds in a drum and bass context. The sounds will always sound more futuristic if you’re making them yourself instead of using older samples. That’s what will ultimately drive it all forward. I’m also really inspired by artists like IMANU who is really forward thinking with his drum and bass.
Definitely! Let’s hear a bit more about this new alias then. What freedom does it give you away from being Screamarts?
It actually came pretty naturally as I try and produce almost every day. I sometimes find I run out of ideas and get a bit of writers block when sticking to the drum and bass tempo. When I have that block, I start to make other things, so I end up having a hard drive full of different types of music. That could be trying to make KOAN Sound-style music, some house, something with piano or a rock piece with my guitar. Instead of just having them on my computer, I thought why not look to start releasing them. Now, I finally have my first official remix as Mylo Fane which I’ll be announcing soon. That’ll be a great beginning and I hope it enables me to do more with the alias in the future.
Does having the alias help your drum and bass production as well? You don’t feel the pressure to force ideas and can come refreshed on a different day?
Yes, exactly. I think I release enough drum and bass, maybe even too much sometimes. That’s why I don’t fear making other music and concentrating more of my time towards the Mylo Fane. It does help my Screamarts material as well because I’m concentrating on completely different sounds, usually a lot more mellow and calmer than my usual drum and bass. This different sound design marries very well like with what you can see on the Is this even real? EP. The downtempo style transfers over nicely and works well with the heavier drums, so using the two different production techniques and workflows is really cool for me.
You’ve just released a track on Fraktal Sound’s YUIMARU V/A compilation. What else can we expect from you in the future?
I’m working on an EP for Eatbrain which has been going for some time. I’m still trying to figure out what tracks I want for it because it isn’t going to be strictly neuro. I’m also working on my own EP for Fraktal which I’ve got a few tracks ready for. Then there’s lots of stuff I want to do, labels I want to release on and artists I want to work with, as well as some secret things which are pretty exciting, but it’s not the right time to say anything just yet!
Big things inbound then! Is there anything you’d like to add?
Just that I’m really thankful to have an interview on UKF. It’s where it all started for me and is ultimately what inspired me to start producing. It’s a wholesome moment as it shows that if you always work on your craft, it pays off some way.